Aug 27, 2011

Review: E.J. Stevens - She Smells The Dead

E.J. Stevens - She Smells the Dead

Pub. Date: August 2010
• Publisher: Sacred Oaks Press
• Format: Ebook 178 pages
• ISBN-13: 9780984247523
• ISBN: 0984247521
• Genre: YA paranormal

It's the beginning of senior year and Yuki's psychic awareness of ghostly spirits is threatening to ruin her life. Her ability to sense spirits of the dead isn't glamorous like on TV. SHE SMELLS THE DEAD. Yuki is being visited in her dreams and suspects that her friend Calvin is involved in something strange. Will Yuki be able to save the spirits and herself?


We received this book from the author. Here is my honest review:

I was really hoping that this book would be better based on the reviews I saw on Goodreads. I don't believe I will be reading the second installation to this series.

The spelling and grammar errors alone knocked off stars. Errors jump off the page at me and really distract from what I'm reading. Aside from that, I really thought the whole introduction to her relationship with Calvin was rushed and felt pretty phony. The very beginning it seemed like they were more than friends anyway, then in a short span you finally see that they're supposed to be just friends, then oh wait he's changing to her, then... he's her soul mate? She mentions some hot Goth boy a few times but that never develops into anything, they don't even actually really introduce him into the story, so I'm not sure why his character is even mentioned. It seemed pretty pointless. It came across like a flip was switched out of nowhere, and suddenly Yuki is all about Calvin.

I'm also not a fan of her bff Emma. Emma is a know-it-all vegan who rages about people eating meat and the mistreatment of bees. This strikes me as vaguely stolen from Harry Potter when Hermione goes on a rampage over the house elves. At least the house elves aren't insects, so I could get behind that idea. But bees, really? Also, what high school senior carries herbs and tinctures in her trunk? As well as an alternative veterinary book that just so happens to come in handy because oh golly, it turns out Calvin is a werewolf! I get being interested in alternative medicine, but no matter where you live, keeping that sort of stuff in your trunk will not keep it well. It just isn't very believable to me.

The concept is somewhat interesting. Yuki gets bombarded with a smell and that's supposed to be her clue to search for whoever died so she has to figure out what they want. So now we have the quirky group of friends (Yuki, Calvin, and Emma) trying to solve the mystery of who died and how they can make them go away. That's pretty textbook, and everyone likes sidekicks, so I don't begrudge the author that. And as far as dialogue goes, it's pretty typical of a YA novel, the thing that gets pretty old and repetitive is her internal dialogue. The author tends to use it to repeat something going on, maybe it's designed to reinforce an idea, but really... we get it.

Overall, I'm not really a fan of the first book, all of the above coupled with continuity errors (in one scene Yuki sees Calvin's tattoo clearly and knows it's a wolf and dung beetle, then later she doesn't know what's on his arm and asks him) just doesn't really do much to hold my interest for future books in the series.


2/5 book nuts

Mickey's two cents: I started reading this one and found a glaring, serious grammar error. I am a HUGE stickler, and that turned me off completely. Also, the dialogue was a little over the top. I wasn't really thrilled, so I had to stop. If you want a better YA novel about a girl who finds the dead, check out The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting. I really enjoy that series.


  1. too bad the story couldn't be a pretty as the cover..

  2. I know, I thought the same thing. :(

  3. Sorry, you didn't like it. I'm sure the cover will draw in lots of people.

    Tia @ Falling For Books

  4. I get really distracted by errors, too. It pulls me way out of the story. It's a shame about the inconsistencies, too. Bummer.

  5. I am the same way about mistakes in books - drives me nuts! And I loved The Body Finder!


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